In the NFL, pressure is inevitable. Over a span of 10 days CSNBaltimore.com is ranking the top 10 Ravens who are under pressure heading into training camp. Check back daily to see who is next in our countdown.
Why the pressure is on:
Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb are both expected to be healthy this year, and the Ravens went out and signed veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington. So the bar at cornerback should be much higher than it was last year, when it became a revolving door. That's good news for the Ravens overall, but perhaps bad news for cornerbacks such as Asa Jackson fighting for a chance to play. In addition, a lot of eyes will be watching Jackson to see if he can replace Jacoby Jones as a return specialist.
What Jackson needs to do:
He needs to show enough consistent cover skills and physical play to warrant time in the secondary, ideally as a nickel back against slot receivers. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds he doesn't have the size to match up with tall receivers on the outside, but in the past, he has shown the athleticism to play bigger than his size. Jackson also needs to take advantage of every opportunity in the return game. He has had some dazzling returns in the past two preseasons. The Ravens will be looking for more of that, as the return job is wide open.
First things first: Jackson needs to be available, which has been an issue. Jackson has twice been suspended for violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, costing him 12 games over his first two seasons. Then last year, when a starting cornerback job was there to be had because of injuries or ineffectiveness of others, Jackson could not stay healthy, with two trips to injured reserve.
The Rest of the List:
Don't forget to check back daily for the rest of the list!